Windows 10 vs Windows 8.1

Find out which is the best Windows OS for your needs. Get a detailed comparison of Windows 10 and 8.1 to decide which is better for you

The Windows 10 vs. Windows 8.1 debate is a hot one among PC users. Both operating systems have their unique features, and choosing the right one for your needs depends on several factors. In this article, we will compare Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 across several criteria, such as user interface, performance, and security, to help you make an informed decision.

Windows 10: An Overview

Key Features of Windows 10

Windows 10, released in 2015, is the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system. Some of its key features include:

  1. Revamped Start Menu
  2. Cortana virtual assistant
  3. Improved security with Windows Defender
  4. DirectX 12 support for gaming
  5. Continuum for touch-enabled devices
  6. Virtual desktops
  7. Microsoft Edge browser

System Requirements for Windows 10

The minimum system requirements for Windows 10 are:

  1. 1 GHz processor
  2. 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  3. 16 GB free hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  4. DirectX 9-compatible graphics card

Windows 8.1: An Overview

Key Features of Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1, released in 2013, is an update to the original Windows 8 operating system. Some of its key features include:

  1. Improved Start Screen with resizable tiles
  2. Search Charm for easy file and app searches
  3. Enhanced touch support
  4. Enhanced snap functionality for multitasking
  5. Built-in OneDrive integration
  6. Improved Windows Store
  7. Boot to Desktop option

System Requirements for Windows 8.1

The minimum system requirements for Windows 8.1 are:

  1. 1 GHz processor
  2. 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  3. 16 GB free hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  4. DirectX 9-compatible graphics card

Comparing Windows 10 and Windows 8.1

User interface

The most noticeable difference between Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 is the user interface. Windows 10 combines the traditional desktop experience with elements of the touch-centric interface introduced in Windows 8. The Start menu in Windows 10 is more customizable, featuring both tiles and a list of installed applications.

On the other hand, Windows 8.1 relies heavily on the touch-optimized Start screen, which can be confusing for users more accustomed to a traditional desktop environment. However, Windows 8.1 does offer the option to boot directly to the desktop.

Start Menu

Windows 10 brings back the Start Menu, a feature that was missing from the original Windows 8 release. The Start Menu in Windows 10 is a combination of the classic menu and the modern Start screen, providing easy access to both desktop applications and Windows Store apps. In contrast, Windows 8.1 relies on the Start Screen with resizable tiles, which some users find less intuitive and harder to navigate, especially without a touch-enabled device.

Cortana vs. Search Charm

Cortana, the virtual assistant included in Windows 10, is a significant upgrade from the Search Charm in Windows 8.1. Cortana provides personalized information, reminders, and can even interact with other applications. The Search Charm in Windows 8.1, while functional, is limited to basic file and app searches.

About security

Windows 10 includes enhanced security features, such as Windows Defender and Device Guard. These features help protect your PC from malware, viruses, and other threats. In addition, Windows 10 supports biometric authentication methods, such as fingerprint and facial recognition. In comparison, Windows 8.1 offers built-in antivirus protection with Windows Defender, but lacks some of the advanced security features found in Windows 10.


In general, Windows 10 performs slightly better than Windows 8.1, especially on older hardware. With improved memory management and optimizations for solid-state drives, Windows 10 provides a smoother and more responsive experience. However, the performance difference is usually marginal, and most users won’t notice a significant difference between the two operating systems.


Windows 10 has the edge when it comes to gaming thanks to its support for DirectX 12. DirectX 12 offers improved performance and enhanced graphics capabilities, giving users a better gaming experience. Windows 8.1, on the other hand, only supports DirectX 11, which lacks some of the improvements found in DirectX 12.

Software compatibility

Windows 10 has better software compatibility than Windows 8.1. With the ability to run both desktop applications and modern Windows Store apps, Windows 10 offers users more flexibility. Additionally, Microsoft has encouraged developers to create apps that are compatible with Windows 10, ensuring a wider range of software options.

Which One to Choose?

The choice between Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 depends on your personal preferences and needs. If you value a traditional desktop experience combined with modern features, improved security, and gaming capabilities, Windows 10 is the better choice. However, if you prefer the touch-centric interface of Windows 8.1 and don’t need the advanced features of Windows 10, Windows 8.1 might be right for you.

In conclusion, Windows 10 offers a more balanced and versatile user experience that combines the best elements of both classic and modern interfaces. With improved security, performance, and gaming capabilities, it’s the preferred choice for most users. However, Windows 8.1 may still be suitable for those who appreciate its touch-centric interface and don’t need the advanced features of Windows 10.